Canada Reads is CBC Books’ literary version of Survivor. Since 2007 this annual event has been held to choose the year’s favourite book by a Canadian author.
For a two-week period in September and October CBC Radio called for nominations of books from readers, Canadian celebrities and people in the literary business. Selections must be written by Canadian authors, currently in print, available in English, and for the first time in 2012, they must be non-fiction.
Forty books were chosen from the nominations, and then votes from the public were cast to narrow the selections down to the Top Ten True Stories. Next, five celebrities were picked and each one chose a favourite book from the Top Ten. The celebrities will defend their choices in a series of debates aired on CBC Radio One, CBC TV and online through CBC Books. One book is eliminated at each of the debates until the last surviving book is declared the winner. The four hour-long Canada Reads 2012 debates will take place on February 6 – 9.
The five Top Ten True Stories, authors and defenders are:
The Tiger by John Vaillant, defended by Anne-France Goldwater
In a remote area of Russia, a man-eating tiger is on the prowl. He appears to have a plan and specific victims in mind. The Tiger is a combination of murder mystery, tale of a hunt and anthropological study of Russia’s Far East. Vaillant writes with much detail, and insight into Man’s relationship with Nature.
Something Fierce: Memoirs of a Revolutionary Daughter by Carmen Aguirre, defended by Shad
Following the 1973 coup which removed Salvador Allende, the democratically elected president of Chile, from office, the author, then six years old, fled Chile with her family. The family lived in Canada until 1978 when they returned to South America to work with the Chilean Resistance. Something Fierce is a first-hand account of revolutionary life and a story of love, war and resistance.
The Game by Ken Dryden, defended by Alan Thicke
The Game has been named by Sports Illustrated magazine as one of the Top Ten Sports Books of All Time. Ken Dryden, former Montreal Canadians goalie and former president of the Toronto Maple Leafs, captures the essence of the sport and what it means to hockey fans. He includes vivid portraits of many hockey legends, such as Guy Lafleur, Serge Savard and Scotty Bowman. This is a hockey classic.
On a Cold Road: Tales of Adventure in Canadian Rock by Dave Bidini, defended by Stacy MacKenzie
Bidini, rhythm guitar player with the Rheostatics, well knows the ups and downs of life on the road in Canada. On a Cold Road is a compilation of revealing tales and hilarious anecdotes from the pioneers of Canadian Rock.
The Prisoner of Tehran by Marina Nemat, defended by Arlene Dickinson
At the age of sixteen, Marina Nemat was arrested and thrown into a notorious political prison in Tehran. Nemat was tortured, forced into marriage to a guard, released, rearrested and finally escaped to Canada in 1991. She now tours the world speaking about human rights and her amazing tale of survival and recovery.
The Nakusp Public Library will hold its own Canada Reads event on February 11, 2012 at 2 p.m. The library has multiple copies of all Canada Reads 2012 finalists, so read one, or a few and come to listen, or to defend your favourite.
Contributed by Patty Riley